Because It’s Hard
When I decided to write my first novel, The Colony, which eventually became Scattering Stars, I knew it would be hard. I had written short stories, essays, and newspaper articles before, but a novel would take patience and persistence. It wouldn’t be something I could finish in a week, a month, or even a year. Was I ready to make such a commitment?
Let me just say I have a habit of choosing hard things. When I was eleven, a pair of prickly hedges dotted with red flowers lined our driveway. I’ve always been vertically challenged, and those hip-level hedges beckoned me like the jingle of the ice cream truck in July. For days on end, I’d sprint toward one of them as fast as I could, leap into the air, and land smack dab in the middle. My arms and legs were scratched and bruised all summer. Why did I battle those hedges? Because it was hard.
On my second attempt to finish college, I enrolled in the Civil Engineering program at California State University in Sacrament. After a nine-year hiatus from school and no math background, I researched financially-rewarding careers and decided on engineering. My calculus, chemistry, and physics classes were tough, but I managed to eke out passing grades. Several times, people asked me why I choose engineering, and generally my response was—you guessed it—because it’s hard.
Putting aside the observation that a psychologist would probably have a field day with me, I’ve concluded that I simply like to be challenged. The harder something is, the more rewarding it seems to be. Whether we’re talking about writing books, running marathons, climbing mountains, or even parenting toddlers, difficult tasks often bring the highest satisfaction. So at this stage of my life, I’m writing science fiction novels. I do it because it’s fun and it’s rewarding. But it’s also hard.